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Tagore with Women

"I never have forgotten her, nor viewed her attraction with a detractory label. Since then my life has been a chiaroscuro of experience; at times Providence has wrought havoc on me, yet I can take pride in that I have never derogared the love of any woman...every woman's love is a favour...a flower that withers but the fragrance remains."

~ Rabindranath Tagore remembering his "England-returned-liberal" tutor Anna Pandurang Tadkhad, daughter of Dr Atmaran, founder of Prarthna Samaj, a Maharashtra based Hindu reformist organisation.

In around 1878, 17 year old Tagore was sent to Bombay by his brother Satyendra Nath Tagore ( the first Indian member of ICS) to learn English manners and life-style which were to be taught to him by Miss Anna Pandurang.

"I never could imagine why, of all the games, tug-of-war was thought of. Before I could even agree of this bout, she had slumped onto my body as a mark of defeat. But even this did not give me ecstasy nor endowed me with a romantic wisdom, which must have made her despair about my future."

At that time she was betrothed to a Scotch man named Littledale whom she did marry but died soon after on 5th July, 1881 in Edinburgh.


In November 1924, to celebrate the centenary of Peruvian independence, Tagore was invited to Latin America. On reaching that continent, Illness brought him close to Argentinian poet Victoria Ocampo.Victoria states, "Thus I came, little by little, to know Tagore and his moods. Little by little he partially tamed the young animal, by turns wild and docile, who did not sleep dog-like on the floor outside his door simply because it was not done"



  1. In the third paragraph, I think you mean "In around 1878".

  2. Thanks for pointing that out! Fixed.

  3. I think it should be 1881 in the sentence "...died soon after on 5th July, 1981..."

  4. Anna Tarkhad's middle name should read Atmaram (father's first name), not Pandurang (grandfather's first name). It must also be noted that 'Anna Tarkhad' is an anglicised contraction of her name, which was actually Annapurna [Atmaram] Tarkhadkar.

  5. Unknown, you are so correct. The name 'Nalini' was given to Annapurna by Tagore and he wrote a song for her- "Utho Nalini kholo go aankhen", its on YouTube.

    I know this as I'm from the Tarkhadkar family, mother's side

    - Nina Kedar

    1. Thanks. I received notification about your comment on my E-mail ID. Glad to know you are related to the Tarkhadkar family. Is there any way I can communicate with you without going through the comments on this blog? I would like to have whatever details are known about Annapurna's life (other than her correspondence with a British newspaper using the pseudonym Lotus Flower) in the period between her marriage to Harold Littledale and her death (whether in Secunderabad or in Edinburgh); especially her Baroda years. I firmly believe she deserves to be studied in her own right, not as Atmaram Pandurang's daughter or as an adolescent Tagore's fleeting romantic interest.


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